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bostonstrongoutfieldWhat a semi-untraditional idea – having fans at a World Series game hold up cards spelling out something that sells your product.

However, no matter how fresh your execution is, it has to be based around a strong idea.

In this case, pandering and corporate chest-beating won out. And the Chevy Silverado brand got a huge black eye.

See, after the Marathon bombing earlier this year, “Boston Strong” has been a rallying cry for the town. As you can probably tell, “Silverado Strong,” the planned reveal for all those holding up cards in their seats, didn’t go over too well with the town. Matter of fact, it caused a huge stink, and the promotion was cancelled.

Lesson for today – think about your brand from the consumer’s point of view. Is what you have to say interesting? Would it cause others to want to find out more about you? Perhaps interact with you? Would it stir up any emotion?

Remember, telling the world about your brand is really easy. Saying it in a way that interests others is really really really hard.

by Francis George Brand Futurist/Minister of Creativity/Department Of Artisans


I love shoes. So, naturally, if there’s a way for me to indulge my passion for footwear while also changing the world for the better, sign me up! And that’s exactly what TOMS is all about.

With every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. It’s called One for One. And they’re not stopping with shoes anymore. One for One has been expanded to include sunglasses, too. With every pair of shades purchased, TOMS gives the gift of sight to a person in need through medical treatment, prescription eyeglasses, and/or sight-saving surgery.

What’s so amazing – and unusual – about the TOMS’ movement is that it’s more than lip-service. It’s way more than just a clever marketing ploy. It’s the very foundation of the company, whose unwavering mission is, “…Work[ing] to establish shoe-giving partnerships with humanitarian organizations worldwide that have…a long-term presence in the countries and communities they serve.” In fact, TOMS gave its one-millionth pair of new shoes to a child in need in September 2010. So much for a PR stunt!

TOMS sees itself not as a shoe or a sunglass company but rather as a One for One company. TOMS’ founder believes it’s the company’s obligation to try to improve as many lives around the world as possible by addressing as many different needs as possible. TOMS’ website tells the full story of the One for One movement and where it’s heading in the future.

The more I read, the more I’m convinced that TOMS is changing the world. Sounds like one more reason to go shoe shopping, if you ask me!

Talk about life changing.

by Leah Knepper Brand Futurist Rubberneck Propaganda Specialist

Photo Credit: © TOMS


While browsing Advertising Age, I came across an article that reminded me a bit too much of a certain George Orwell novel.

BMW Germany has recently developed a “flash projection” technology that temporarily forces viewers to see the BMW logo burned on the inside of their eyelids after watching a BMW ad. Although there is no logo visible during the actual ad, a voice asks the audience to close their eyes after they witness a blinding flash, similar to that of a photograph. If they close their eyes, as they are told, the viewer would see “BMW” imprinted on the inside of their eyes.

The flash projection project apparently “leaves a lasting impression,” but I think that’s just a nice way to put it. A more honest way would be to say that it forces one. True, the flash is harmless physically- but ethically? Usually, if a consumer does not approve of what they see on a screen, they are welcome to change the channel or close their eyes to it. But what happens when this is no longer an option? Are we pushing the bounds of morality by forcing people to see this logo? Or is this what brands need to do now in order to break away from the clutter?

Perhaps I am being oversensitive. For many people see this new “flash projection” technique as an innovative way to grab attention and allow consumers to actively engage with the brand. After all, “BMW” only appears on your eyelids for a second. And it’s really no different from conventional advertising, except for the fact that it takes away your free will. But really, who needs that?

I guess the moral of this story is keep your eyes wide open, because if you aren’t safe in your own head, you aren’t safe anywhere.

make up your own mind:

by Francis George Brand Futurist the Republik Commander Creative Ops


Name your price: that’s what the band Radiohead offered fans when they released their latest album online. Consumers got to decide how much they would pay for the album. An ingenious bit of PR that paid off big for the band in terms of advertising. Now a wine company has followed suit all in the name of marketing.

Read more about this!

“The marketing industry has been talking about performance-based compensation for years now. When The Republik signed performance-based contracts with its clients 6 years ago, we thought we were on the cutting edge. When Radiohead did it, I felt it was a fantastic PR stunt that would garner them press that would far outweigh their losses at the ticket office. Now other products with significant overhead jump on the same bandwagon and put their entire existence in the hands of the consumers willingness to pay. I wish I had thought of it first.”

by Robert Shaw West Brand Futurist The Republik Companies Chairman/CEO

Photo Credit: © BLANKbottle